The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h54
Release 19.11.1982
Director Collin Higgins
About Miss Mona (Dolly Parton) runs the Chicken Ranch, a brothel with a long history in a small Texas town. The locals have a good relationship with the institution, and Mona is respected in the community. The sheriff, Ed Earl Dodd (Burt Reynolds), also looks out for the Chicken Ranch due to his past with Miss Mona. However, when pious reporter Melvin Thorpe (Dom DeLuise) exposes the brothel, outside interests want it shut down, putting the governor (Charles Durning) in a tough spot.
Moon: full moon in the opening sequence
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:


The Good

  • Dolly Parton is her amazing self in the role of Mona. I love her chemistry with Burt Reynolds is something I’d love to see in any movie other than this one. When she sings ‘I Will Always Love You’?! It doesn’t matter how checked out of this movie I already was, I cried. Fuck the Bodyguard, this is the best use of that song.
  • The music is catchy and you can’t help but tap along to it. I can imagine this is a better production on the stage than screen.
  • There’s no sex or breasts to be seen. It really is rather tame considering its subject. So, it’s not family friendly, but it certainly isn’t gratuitous either. There’s something to be said about that.

The Bad

  • The antagonist is vile, and creepy and almost panto-esque. Sometimes, you really need a villian that isn’t too obvious from the outset. One that you can understand where they’re coming from. I’m afraid there was no ambiguity here and it feels forced.

The Ugly

  • We wonder how the Me Too movement took so long to be recognised. I certainly do. Then I watch films like this and how they present certain behaviours and I seethe.
    So, this town has a Chicken Ranch (Whorehouse), that has been socially accepted for hundreds of years in this town. Fathers have taken sons for generations. A bit ick at the thought of family members being able to compare notes, but each to their own.
    However, a school football coach taking his team to the Chicken Ranch as a reward for winning their games/season?! Especially when they know the Ranch is getting bad press? Well, that does not sit right with me at all. Can you imagine if that happened today?

Final Thoughts

Not something I’m going to rush to watch again. It’s classy enough, considering its subject however, I’m not a fan of musicals and this still has the feel of a 70s film which, when it comes to musicals, are very much the worst for me.
If you want a musical that has a similar theme, but a better plot and songs; watch either Rock of Ages or Burlesque.

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